JW Lees reveals total annual loss

JW Lees, the Manchester-based pub operator and brewer, has posted an annual loss of £4.8m.

JW Lees, the Manchester-based pub operator and brewer, has posted an annual loss of £4.8m for the year to March 31st 2021, with turnover down 78% to just £21.3m. 

This follows a profit of £1m in 2020 and a profit of £6.8m in 2019. 

Despite the recent results and the difficulty of the past 18 months, the operator has said it is now profitable again.

"We recognise that we all needed to do everything that we could to support the national effort to beat the virus, but pubs were disproportionately affected and scapegoated compared to other business sectors," says managing director William Lees-Jones.

"During the time that the government forced pubs to be closed, JW Lees charged no rent to our pub partners as well as supporting the wider JW Lees family in whatever way that we could by helping teams to help to navigate the support that government was offering in the form of the Job Retention Scheme (furlough), grants, business rates relief, financial assistance and loans. This support from government is much appreciated and has ensured that JW Lees has survived the crisis, with more than £20m of different types of support in total over the course of the last 18 months."

The principal activity of JW Lees continues to be brewing and the operation of freehold pubs, restaurants and hotels under both management and in partnership with its pub partners. 

The business has said it hopes to start to grow the company again in the spring of 2022, but remains cautious owing to concerns regarding Covid-19, Brexit, inflation and the shortages of skilled labour and raw materials.

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